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Showing papers in "Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and The Middle East in 2010"



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Deletze and Guattari as discussed by the authors define the concept of territory as an attempted stabilization of chaos, a theoretical stopping point in time and space that draws boundaries around an entity, defending it from being thought differently.
Abstract: cept is the philosopher’s creation, an act of thought that articulates a new event (entity, idea) that then can be applied to a section of chaos (the infinity of possible realities) in order to give it consistency (some sense of understanding) without losing the infinity of potential thoughts. 2 Rather than see its components as related to each other through a filter of comprehension or extension, Deleuze and Guattari suggest that the components of a concept are an inseparable neighborhood of adjacent points in a field with fluid boundaries that allow thought to continue its infinite movement. A philosophical concept is not an absolute but an event that facilitates the thinking through of a problem with allowance for the chaotic nature of thought that is constantly moving and adjusting its speed. Territory, building from this definition of the concept, is an attempted stabilization of chaos, a theoretical stopping point in time and space that draws boundaries around an entity, defending it from being thought differently. Scientific laws are an example of territory in thought as a bounded essence or thing. To prove a scientific thesis, one applies X’s theory of Y to prove Z. Y is taken as a scientific law, a stabili zation of thought, fixed as already proven. Nations are generally conceived as territories, as bounded entities marked in time and space with natural roots in a section of land. The boundaries of the nation are fixed and citizens inside these borders imagined to be naturally related to the territory in which they were born. Benedict Anderson argues that nations as imagined political communities could only arise historically when three cultural concepts lost their grips on the minds of people: the ontological verity of sacred texts, the dynastic order of power hierarchy with a divinely linked ruler, and a comprehension of time in which cosmology and history were indistinguishable. The rise of print capitalism contributed the idea of calendrical time, in which strangers who read the same daily text could incorporate themselves into a new idea of com

66 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper explored what it might mean to take economic arguments for cow protection seriously, drawing on recent critical reflections on secular history, and found that cow protection in colonial north India around the turn of the twentieth century made abundant use of "economic" arguments for a legislative ban on cow slaughter.
Abstract: Proponents of cow protection in colonial north India around the turn of the twentieth century made abundant use of "economic" arguments for a legislative ban on cow slaughter. Drawing on recent critical reflections on secular history, this essay explores what it might mean to take these economic arguments seriously.

43 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Silk Road is commonly used as a convenient blanket term to describe the many trade routes and points of contact that crisscrossed Central Asia as mentioned in this paper, to the point that everything in the history of the region is conceptualized within the confines of the Silk Road(s).
Abstract: The Silk Road is commonly used as a convenient blanket term to describe the many trade routes and points of contact that criss-crossed Central Asia. The term is generally overused, to the point that everything in the history of the region is conceptualized within the confines of the Silk Road(s). By reading Greco-Roman and particularly Chinese sources on the contacts between the eastern and western termini of the Eurasian continent, this article demonstrates that the Silk Road is not only a nineteenth-century name but, indeed, a modern historiographical invention, serving to lump together individual histories and creating long-distance connections where they never existed. It is proposed that for a more productive study of Central Asian history, we must do away with the notion of the Silk Road and notice the realities, to consider individual socioeconomic systems and their peculiarities.

38 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a study of "aspiring cosmopolitans" in Amman, Jordan, examines new experiences of negotiating social status and cultural codes in multiple locales.
Abstract: Neoliberal reforms often have the effect of creating exclusions, but less addressed are the precise ways in which shifting practices of work and leisure have allowed citizens to reimagine their relation to the more desirable dimensions of economic liberalization. These include access to private commercial spaces such as malls and other locations where elite establishments are concentrated and to employment in the expanding sector of the service economy, namely, in high-end restaurants, bars, and exclusive nightclubs. Through a study of "aspiring cosmopolitans" in Amman, Jordan, I examine new experiences of negotiating social status and cultural codes in multiple locales. New sites of leisure allow some middle- and lower middle-class Jordanians to insert themselves into Jordan's (relatively) new cosmopolitan leisure economy—physically and sometimes also economically—in ways that entail self-conscious negotiations with sites of cultural production and cultural capital. These practices of representation can be described as crossings in spatial terms (from East to West Amman), in economic terms (from a lower to a higher social class), and in cultural terms (from working- and middle-class citizens to aspiring cosmopolitans). Without rejecting the critique that neoliberal economic reforms produce widespread and economically devastating exclusions and disenfranchisement, this article aims nonetheless to illuminate some of the ways in which lines of exclusion are being negotiated and challenged by some of those who might otherwise find themselves on the losing side of neoliberal promises.

30 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argues that the diffusion of printing through Islamic Asia in the early 1820s took place as part of a printing global revolution initiated by the mass production of iron handpresses of the kind invented by Charles, Earl Stanhope.
Abstract: Through a detailed examination of the emergence of printing in Iran, this essay argues that the diffusion of printing through Islamic Asia in the early 1820s took place as part of a printing global revolution initiated by the mass production of iron handpresses of the kind invented by Charles, Earl Stanhope in 1800. Unlike the cumbrous wooden presses of early modern Europe and its settler populations overseas, the durable, mass-produced, transportable, and easy-to-operate presses of the early 1800s were able to reach regions where printing was unknown and penetrate deeper into reading markets only scratched by the limited print runs of the older wooden presses. Whereas the Gutenberg revolution was effectively confined to Europe and its settler communities in the Americas and Asia, this "Stanhope revolution" was truly global in scale, enabling printing to develop in Iran no less than in Australia, India, Malaya, and large parts of the Americas at the same time. By documenting the contemporaneous appearance in Iran and a series of other regions of iron handpresses and the products on which they depended, the essay argues for the repositioning of Iranian printing as part of a larger global process. Rather than view Iran and other Middle Eastern nations as problematically "late developers" of printing, the essay argues for a reframing of the process in terms of two distinct printing revolutions: Gutenberg's and Stanhope's.

25 citations






Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The formation of a Palestinian identity has been and remains a continuous vital process rather than a final preshaped construct as discussed by the authors, arguing that the performative act of cultural identification has been more successful than the building of a national Palestinian state.
Abstract: Cinema has been for many diasporic communities the privileged site of self-representation and sometimes of idealistic (re)construction of homeland. Over the past thirty years, Palestinian cinema has constituted a site for negotiation and circulation of values and behaviors that have contributed to the creation and perpetuation of Palestinian cultural and national identity against the systematic denial of such an identity by the Israeli occupier. I argue that the formation of a Palestinian identity has been and remains a continuous vital process rather than a final preshaped construct. However, the performative act of cultural identification has been more successful than the building of a national Palestinian state. Photography as well as cinema–fiction and documentary–has succeeded in establishing a recognizable cultural identity of the Palestinian people, while other discourses (political, ethnic, and religious) seem to have failed to achieve this goal. Diaspora becomes in this perspective a vehicle of change and a territory from which other forms of resistance emerge, including resistance to and critical dissociation from self-indulgent archaic value systems associated with ethnic, social, and historical identifications. I analyze in this essay Palestinian-Belgian filmmaker Michel Khleifi's documentary and feature films as sites of a diasporic reconstruction of identity. I then focus on iconic representations of the face (the portrait and the close-up) and the landscape (the panoramic establishing shots), arguing that photographers and filmmakers alike have made extensive use of the face and the landscape in order to authenticate the Palestinian reality and fetishize–through remembrance and material replacements–the lost land of Palestine.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors discuss the role of women's NGOs in the development of civil society in the Middle East and the Arab world and Palestine more specifically, and raise a number of issues and concerns among various scholars.
Abstract: ��� ince the Gulf War in 1991 and more so after September 11 and the war on terror, the phenomenon of nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in the Middle East in general, and the Arab world and Palestine more specifically, has acquired a specific predomi nance and weight requiring critical investigation. The rate of increase in NGOs in the past few years — from an estimated 175,000 in 1995 to about 225,000 in 2003 — has raised a number of issues and concerns among various scholars. 1 This is particularly so with regard to women’s NGOs. Some of the concerns raised relate to the rationale behind the mushrooming of this phenomenon: is it a conscious product of local and national need or the result of external, more specifically capitalist imperialist, interests and pressures in the region — hence serving foreign agendas? At the macro, international level of analysis, questions are raised regarding the “con structive” or rather “restrictive” role NGOs play in the project of nation and state building. Whereas for some, NGOs are seen as a socially divisive force leading to the segmentation of the national movement, the obliteration of the class struggle, and the fragmentation of the social fabric, others blame the phenomenon of NGOs for its role in transforming the women’s movement from grassroots- based organization into professional bureaucratic structures incapable of driving political and social change. 2 Yet others, while critical of certain aspects of the phenomenon, tend to welcome NGOs, considering them an important factor in the development of civil society and a tool for promoting citizenship, democracy, and human and civil rights. 3 At the local/micro level, some concerns are raised regarding the function of NGOs as project- driven organizations with limited short- term goals. Other concerns raised at this level relate to the social- cultural domain. Here NGOs are seen as a tool of “cultural co- optation” by the West and a source of competition and social division vying for limited sources of funding. 4 1. United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM),

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Sufis' theory of ghorba (estrangement or exile) underlies a reflection on exile in contemporary Arab cultures as mentioned in this paper, where the Sufi concept paves the way for a modern Arab ethnoscape, where the Arab subject experiences transnational movement in the global space without associating this experience with negative aspects of exile.
Abstract: Sufis' theory of ghorba (estrangement or exile) underlies here a reflection on exile in contemporary Arab cultures. Hence Ibn al-Arabi's speculations on ghorba in Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya shed a new light on Arjun Appadurai's notion of "ethnoscape." The Sufi concept of ghorba paves the way for a modern Arab ethnoscape, where the Arab subject experiences transnational movement in the global space without associating this experience with the negative aspects of exile. Ibn al-Arabi dismisses the negative effects of "geographic" displacement. According to his reasoning, an expatriate does not feel estranged anywhere he or she travels, since the world—and the divine—are in continuity with the human subject. The real exile is a psychological experience resulting from the disruption of monist unity and harmony between human and divine, man and the world. This conception of exile challenges nationalist theories of estrangement based on the assumption that a sense of displacement is bound to physical movement out of the national territory. Ghorba is a state in which the subject is far from his or her ethical and spiritual plenitude (thanks to the Sufi mystical unity with the divine), not a geopolitical situation. This conception challenges the dogmatic distinction of House of Islam versus House of War in Arab Islamic Sunni tradition, where the displacement out of the former results in an experience of exile. In modern terms, ghorba —as conceptualized by Sufis—provides a traditional basis helping the modern Arab subject cope with the experience of displacement, by shifting the paradigm of belonging from the realm of geopolitics to that of spirituality and ethics. Thus the construction of a modern postnational Arab subjectivity can be achieved thanks to the investment of the ethnoscape—a virtual space that transcends national boundaries but keeps active a network of affects and cultural references and products unifying an ethnically distinct subject. The Sufi sense of belonging to the whole world makes it politically and ethically acceptable to feel at home outside of one's homeland, without being stripped from one's ethnicity. It adds to this compromise a dimension of spiritual fulfillment, since the horizontal ethnoscape intersects with a vertical spiritual axis, constantly neutralizing nostalgia to the geographic paradise of origins.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examine Ottoman responses to Iranians bringing corpses for burial in holy Shi'i sites in Ottoman Iraq, and focus on questions of sovereignty, frontiers, commerce, and sanitation.
Abstract: This article examines Ottoman responses to Iranians bringing corpses for burial in holy Shi'i sites in Ottoman Iraq, and focuses on questions of sovereignty, frontiers, commerce, and sanitation. Bringing together the Shi'is of both sides of the Ottoman-Iranian frontier, this curious border crossing constituted a major point of contention between the Ottoman Empire and Safavid and Qajar Iran. One of the most persistent religio-economic activities of Middle Eastern history, corpse traffic continued almost unabated until the emergence of cholera as a global health threat. The emergence of cholera and discussions around corpse traffic and pilgrimage to the ' atabat helped transform one of the longest running unresolved issues of the Islamic world: namely, the undefined border between he Ottoman Empire and Iran.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The discourse of tanwir (enlightenment) has been used, appropriated, and recycled in multiple milieus ranging from state discourse and the secular intellectuals in the process of co-option by the state to the Islamists and the nationalists as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: This article looks at how the discourse of tanwir (enlightenment) has been used, appropriated, and recycled in multiple milieus ranging from state discourse and the secular intellectuals in the process of co-option by the state to the Islamists and the nationalists Precisely when the government has been trying to sell for the Western "democratic" and free world an image of a civilized "enlightened" government, combating its "dark" opponents, it has itself reinvented practices of harshly disciplining the unruly By promoting enlightenment from the top, the government attempts to promote the image of an enlightened authoritarian, but "somehow" democratic, state, since Egypt enjoys a multiparty system and there exist various opposition papers and magazines The article draws attention to "government enlightenment" policies ( tanwir hukumi ) and focuses in particular on the recent statements on female Islamic attire by the minister of culture, Farouk Hosni, and the tempestuous political crisis that resulted The portrayal of an "enlightened" artist-intellectual minister who has been counterimaged against the dark Islamists is discussed The article highlights the dialectical, intricate relationship between the long authoritarian tradition of the state and the way the state co-opts the intellectuals to counterplay opposition

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors look at how jazz was identified, criticized, and appropriated by engaging with various printed and visual materials, and argue that the "horrible monster" of jazz was the site of negotiating different notions of the public in 1920s Istanbul.
Abstract: Istanbul of the 1920s evoked a period of transition and redefinition in the aftermath of World War I and the onset of the Turkish Republic (1923). Precisely, what position Istanbul would occupy as well as its constituents in the nascent republic was in flux. Debates around distinctly modern, transnational cultural practices emerged in Istanbul's illustrated press, determining the parameters, albeit ambiguous, around modern life. One such debate centered upon jazz and its respective dances, namely the Charleston. Jazz represented a distinctively interwar, transnational sound. Cultural critics perceived the movement and rhythms as "uncontrollable" and difficult to describe. Critic Akil Cem had even proposed that the Charleston steps be "tamed" by limiting the steps from twenty to five, while writer Fikret Adil referred to jazz as "awakening a horrible monster." The jazz public exuded a heterogeneous, cosmopolitan character that blurred public borders in terms of class hierarchies and gendered, linguistic, and ethnic boundaries, and threatened an emerging Turkish cultural order. Both the narratives of American jazz exceptionalism and a predominant 1930s-centric Turkish nationalist narrative marginalized if not rendered silent the 1920s Istanbul jazz scene. In this article, I historicize jazz and highlight a transnational border crossing of performers and cultural products. By so doing, I place the city as being a participant of an urban transnational latitude. Specifically, I look at how jazz was identified, criticized, and appropriated by engaging with various printed and visual materials. I argue that the "horrible monster" of jazz was the site of negotiating different notions of the public in 1920s Istanbul.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article argued that women are continuously bargaining with patriarchy in Sudan, but the processes of renegotiating women's rights within the context of an Islamic state do not only take an Islamic feminist direction as post-Islamist scholars propose.
Abstract: This article explores women's bargaining with a patriarchal Islamic state in Sudan. The article is situated within the realm of the literature on post-Islamism, which claims that Islamism becomes compelled both by its own internal contradictions and by societal pressure to reinvent itself through a "secular," "democratic," and "feminist" transformation of Islamic theology. The emergence of Islamic feminisms is thus regarded as a paradoxical consequence of the spaces that Islamism created in the course of participation in the political game. The article argues that women are continuously bargaining with patriarchy in Sudan, but the processes of renegotiating women's rights within the context of an Islamic state do not only take an Islamic feminist direction as post-Islamist scholars propose. What we see in contemporary Sudan is different types of women's (non)movements offering qualitatively different and competing interpretations of the shari'a. The processes of (re-)Islamization and post-Islamization in Sudan are thus conflated. The paradoxical consequence of Islamism in Sudan is that women's activism is seen in not only those acts that resist patriarchy, but also those acts that aim to preserve patriarchy. It is based on fieldwork in Sudan in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argues that the depoliticization of empowerment aid is not coincidental but is the outcome of a series of policy concerns shaping the donor agenda, such as placating authoritarian regimes, promoting economic liberalization, and finding progovernment institutions capable of absorbing large amounts of aid in short periods of time.
Abstract: This article examines the notion of empowerment as it has been conceptualized, operationalized, and applied through various programs and projects by some donors funding women- and gender-related projects in the Middle East between 1998 and 2008. The main argument put forward is that many projects claiming empowerment as their objective showed a support for the concept that is stripped of its original political underpinnings. The article argues that this depoliticization of empowerment aid is not coincidental but is the outcome of a series of policy concerns shaping the donor agenda. These concerns include placating authoritarian regimes, promoting economic liberalization, and finding progovernment institutions capable of absorbing (and channeling) large amounts of aid in short periods of time. The outcome is a re-reinforcement of the status quo domestically, while giving the international audience the facade of progressive, gender-sensitive regimes.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors adopt an interdisciplinary approach bridging the fields of history, anthropology, and politics to study the emergence of what they call the "new jihad in Swat" in northern Pakistan.
Abstract: Scholarly interest in religio-political movements in the Muslim world has increased dramatically in recent times. Given the considerable variety of movements that are inspired by Islam, it is imperative that overly general and descriptive analyses be avoided in favor of thoroughly contextualized studies of individual movements. In this article I adopt an interdisciplinary approach bridging the fields of history, anthropology, and politics to study the emergence of what I call the "new jihad in Swat" in northern Pakistan spearheaded by the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariati-Muhammadi (TNSM) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Acknowledging the importance of the wider geopolitical environment, I argue that the rise of the TNSM and TTP is a function of the historical salience of Islamic (jihad) idiom in Pashtun society, localized sources of discontent, and historical-structural changes that have facilitated the emergence of a distinct agenda of "Shariatization." My findings are based on extensive interaction with Swatis, both in their homes and workplaces, over an extensive period. I have also interviewed many who have been residing in refugee camps after May 2009. I conclude that the wider geostrategic environment, class, and other social cleavages in Swat and the ideational power of Islam ensure that spaces for the "new jihad" will continue to proliferate in Swat and its environs.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argued that the gender critique of imperialism and nationalism should be informed by a critical epistemology that integrates class, capital, and other social relations with ideologies and practices of power.
Abstract: This essay, written in reflection of earlier work, introduces the themes needed to analyze forms of gender and class oppression as these have been mediated through, and by, hegemonic projects of imperialism and nationalism. It argues that the gender critique of imperialism and nationalism should be informed by a critical epistemology that integrates class, capital, and other social relations with ideologies and practices of power. A feminist historical materialism is used that avoids the either-or binary of material, social relations versus culture and language is used, bringing into view the particularities of social relations and illuminating the ways that gender becomes crucial for hegemonic projects. These hegemonic social projects inform languages and cultures of people that are integrated as shaping elements of common sense, consensus, contestations, and the politics of gender. The pitfalls of national consciousness are also brought into view using feminist and class lenses, so that differences between liberal, communist, and even fascist forms of nationalism are revealed. These analytical tools, developed a decade ago, are still relevant to contemporary case studies of imperialism and nationalism of Israel and Palestine and the religious and cultural nationalism in parts of the Middle East that has arisen in resistance to contemporary American imperialism.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The impact of World War I on Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe is discussed in this article, where the authors focus on a number of literary descriptions of Berlin as a point of passage, particularly by the Jewish writer Joseph Roth.
Abstract: The article discusses the impact of World War I on Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe. In modern Jewish history the experience of immigration is almost synonymous with movement to and settlement in immigrant neighborhoods in the heart of big metropolitan cities, especially New York. After 1918, however, traditional immigration countries like the United States closed their gates for most Eastern and Southern Europeans, as well as migrants from Asia. The Jewish migration experience in the German capital Berlin highlights the transition from relatively free migration during the long nineteenth century to a state best described as permanent transit after 1918. Berlin only emerged as an important destination for Jewish migrants from farther east when immigration restrictions put New York and other American cities out of reach. The article focuses on a number of literary descriptions of Berlin as a point of passage, in particular by the Jewish writer Joseph Roth. In his widely published feuilleton articles, Roth described postwar Berlin as a transit city and a city in transition, as a melting pot of different times, visions, and peoples, not least Jews from Eastern Europe (like himself). The experience of Jewish migrants who did not really arrive anywhere fascinated Roth because of the relationship between the preservation of a "supranational" Diaspora identity in time and space with elements of mobility.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors discuss the formation of an economy in late antiquity with the coming of the Sassanian Empire in 224 CE, and the role of the state and traders and their relation with one another.
Abstract: This essay discusses the formation of an economy in late antiquity with the coming of the Sassanian Empire in 224 CE. Local, imperial, regional, and international trade and the role of the state and traders and their relation with one another are previewed. Based on surviving evidence, one can see that a vibrant bazaar economy had developed in cities, protected by the imperial government and at times through the resettlement of populations from outside of the Iranian plateau and Mesopotamia. These local economies in turn created an imperial network by the Sassanians but acted autonomously. Trade networks were mainly developed based on religious affiliation, and they created connections throughout Asia to control commodities such as silk and other precious goods. Through Sassanian protection (224–651 CE) of trade, their Byzantine rivals were unable to gain an economic foothold in Asia. In the international trade provided by the Silk Road and the sea route, China and India became important centers of production, while the Iranians, such as the Sogdians, Bactrians and Persians, acted as traders and intermediaries in the Eurasian trade. These structures created in late antiquity by the Sassanian Empire in Asia were inherited by the Muslims in the seventh century CE and were continued and expanded.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Shariq al-ma 'rifa as mentioned in this paper, a Persian text offering an interpretation of Indian philosophy drawing on Sufi and Neoplatonic (Illuminationist) terms and categories, examines how the author subordinates Vedantic thought to an Islamicate framework.
Abstract: The Mogul court poet Fayzi (AD 1547–95) is credited with the composition of the Shariq al-ma 'rifa , a Persian text offering an interpretation of Indian philosophy drawing on Sufi and Neoplatonic (Illuminationist) terms and categories. This article examines how the author subordinates Vedantic thought to an Islamicate framework.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article argued that the war on terror intrudes on post-conflict peace building and reconstruction interventions in Afghanistan, specifically in the southern and eastern parts of the country where a virulent insurgency has reemerged.
Abstract: This article challenges claims to neutrality and impartiality of aid interventions in Afghanistan, arguing that the war on terror intrudes on postconflict peace building and reconstruction interventions in Afghanistan, specifically in the southern and eastern parts of the country where a virulent insurgency has reemerged. In these regions, aid interventions are deeply entangled in active insurgent and counterinsurgent politics as aid settings are often used to wage ideological, cultural, and political campaigns over Afghans in order to demonstrate victory. This article argues that Afghan women are caught on the frontlines of this "aid battlefield," both as "nation builders" celebrated by the U.S. administration as examples of liberal-imperial victory and as "nation betrayers" of their culture and traditions for their participation in internationally facilitated programs. I suggest that feminists need to be aware and wary of the ways that aid projects are co-opted by foreign and local militarized masculinities that collectively perpetuate insecurity and violence against Afghan women.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that the disjuncture between paradigms of Iranian women sexualities and actual experiences of and reasons for migration to Dubayy results in complicated challenges to migrant Iranian womens agency as well as to their ideas about agency.
Abstract: Around the world today we are experiencing what scholars call a “feminization of migration” which coincides with a global panic about human trafficking and distorts the messy realities of forced labor migration and sex work. In the Middle East Dubayy has become the center for the migration of many Iranian women moving into the informal economy of sex work. In this essay I argue that the disjuncture between paradigms of Iranian womens sexualities and actual experiences of and reasons for migration to Dubayy results in complicated challenges to migrant Iranian womens agency as well as to their ideas about agency. The discourse on the innocent trafficked woman and that on the guilty predatory woman do not reflect womens actual experiences in Dubayy and serve only to perpetuate already gendered and raced discourses on the movement of womens bodies that is prevalent in international discourses on sex work and trafficking. Many people use the language of trafficking problematic in its implications that women (especially from the developing world) could only be “duped” into sex work in another country and this language serves to silence the already silenced migrant sex workers. Qualitative ethnographic fieldwork with sex workers migrant women and those who provide services to them assessed the experiences of migrant women and sex workers labeled as “trafficked” by the international community. The essay seeks to describe the experiences of these migrant women in the Middle East and how their narratives have been constructed and often misinterpreted.

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TL;DR: The authors argue that security relies on a new mechanism of justifying violence, wherein the distinction between (feminized) civilians and (masculinized) aggressors is replaced with more "gender-blind" violence, which incorporates both humanitarian language and aberrant, thin disciplinary processes to form a subject whose killing is always already justifiable.
Abstract: This essay seeks to define the current regime of national security, tracing a shift within the gender categories that subtend notions of justified (state) violence It focuses on Israel's occupation, and in particular its violent control over the Gaza Strip, to examine the relations between war and enmity on the one hand and humanitarianism and subject-citizens on the other I argue that security relies on a new mechanism of justifying violence, wherein the distinction between (feminized) civilians and (masculinized) aggressors is replaced with more "gender-blind" violence, which incorporates both humanitarian language and aberrant, thin disciplinary processes to form a subject whose killing is always already justifiable

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the Mistress of Two Worlds explores the ways that Fatimah al-Zahra's mystical and intercessory powers construct a temporal devotional world for the Shia.
Abstract: "The Mistress of Two Worlds" explores the ways that Fatimah al-Zahra's mystical and intercessory powers construct a temporal devotional world for the Shia. of the Deccan in south-central India, projecting individual loyalty to the imams and remembrance of their sacrifices into an eschatological framework in which Fatimah is transformed from a gatherer of the tears of the mourners into the judge and intercessory authority of Muslim loyalty to the Ahl-e Bait on the Day of Judgment. This essay focuses on four aspects of Fatimah's mystical and intercessory powers in Indo-Persian Shiism: (1) Fatimah's pre-eternal light that generates prophecy and the imamate, illuminating heaven on the Day of Judgment; (2) the imitable, worldly model that Fatimah's poverty and faith provide for the Shia to integrate into their daily lives; (3) the role of relics and other ritual objects endowed with Fatimah's intercessory grace ( baraka ) in Hyderabadi Shii devotion; and (4) Fatimah's role as the ultimate intercessor and arbitrator on the Day of Judgment in Hyderabadi Shiism.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Khatay'namah, or Book of China, a description of Chinese government and society in the mid-Ming period, written by a Central Asian merchant and presented to the Ottoman court in 1516, is evidence that the advent of more rationalized, centralized, and bureaucratic forms of governance in Ming China played a significant role in political developments in the Islamic world as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The Khatay'namah , or Book of China , a description of Chinese government and society in the mid-Ming period, written by a Central Asian merchant and presented to the Ottoman court in 1516, is evidence that the advent of more rationalized, centralized, and bureaucratic forms of governance in Ming China played a significant role in political developments in the Islamic world. The political ideology of the Ming founder, combining bureaucratic absolutism with a kind of populism that emphasized a direct connection between ruler and subjects, would see a close parallel in the Ottoman Empire in the reign of Suleyman I (1520–66). The Chinese near contemporary of Suleyman, the Zhengde emperor (1505–21), promoted his reign as a continuation of the Mongol Empire, called himself by the title Sheikh 'Alam, and took other measures that engendered speculation of his conversion to Islam. This and other developments in China, including construction of the Great Wall in the late fifteenth century, resonated with millenarian beliefs in the Islamic world. The Khatay'namah 's description of China evokes millenarian, utopian ideals but also demystifies China's prosperity, which it attributes to the Chinese people's assiduous adherence to law and system, or qanun . This account of China reflects the importance of cross-border trade, the military, and Muslim Chinese communities as sites of encounter between the Islamic world and the Chinese state. The text's rhetorical strategy of emphasizing similarities between China and the Ottoman Empire may be a reflection of early attempts by Muslim Chinese to negotiate a distinct Chinese Islamic identity.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explores the historical roots of the enigma that Iran perpetually presents to the outside world, a bleak and forbidding, deeply religious place that is also welcoming, poetic, and remarkably secular, by tracing the image European Enlightenment thinkers constructed of the country and its inhabitants.
Abstract: This essay explores the historical roots of the enigma that Iran perpetually presents to the outside world—a bleak and forbidding, deeply religious place that is also welcoming, poetic, and remarkably secular—by tracing the image European Enlightenment thinkers constructed of the country and its inhabitants. They were inspired by the lived experience of famous seventeenth-century travelers such as Jean Chardin and Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, but, writing after the fall of the Safavids, at a time when Iran had dissolved into chaos and despotism and when Westerners no longer visited the country, they ended up constructing an imaginary realm. Iranians simultaneously appear as stoics and epicureans; they are spiritually inclined but also crassly materialistic; they are often amazingly tolerant but as often fanatical, and though refined, they can also be unspeakably cruel. The resulting contradictory imagery—from which we still borrow—shows us Iran as the complex place that it was but also as a reflection of Europe's own foibles and anxieties, as the self seen through the other. Enlightenment thinkers, grappling with questions about human nature and the essence of power, juxtaposed the glories of the country's old civilization and its rich cultural legacy to its ruined melancholy presence, using this fallen state as a mirror and a morality tale about the laws of nature and the frailty of the human condition.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors explore two regional welfare policies in Canada over the past three decades and find that the former follows a "purer" neoliberal model of reduced state involvement and fewer state actors, while the latter increases state expenditure and hires new staff to micromanage the poor.
Abstract: This article suggests that the nature of the neoliberal state needs to be more fully explored. Our research on two regional welfare policies in Canada over the past three decades reveals that neoliberal regional states can differ quite remarkably in how they include or exclude their poorer citizens from receiving welfare. By exploring the dramatic changes to welfare in British Columbia and Ontario, we argue that the former follows a "purer" neoliberal model of reduced state involvement and fewer state actors, while the latter increases state expenditure and hires new staff to micromanage the poor. We attempt to explain these differences with attention to historical and contemporary political and religious cultures that deeply affect class, gender, and race relations.